The memory of our first Italian train ride lingers with me to this day. We were on our way to Italy’s deep south! Today’s modern trains have dining cars, snack bars, and computer hookups. 

But back in 1989, they sold snacks out of dish pans. Shouting Neapolitan men strode the aisles with bottled water, soft drinks, and bags of chips. Just grab a dubious-looking paper cup jammed in among the bottles and enjoy! Lunch? No problem! As lunchtime approached other vendors boarded, dish pans now filled with cellophane-wrapped sandwiches made fresh that day (?) or fresh coconut, cut and ready to eat.

Like an old Italian movie, rambunctious children jostled among the shouting vendors. Old women, as big around as they were tall. Screaming babies. And Italian mammas pulling endless quantities of food from immense shopping bags. Giant sandwiches, boiled eggs, cheese, bread, fruit, wine, and even pasta!

“So this is Italy” I thought. “This is really Italy!”

Yes, that was Italy, the Italy of yesteryear. Which to a large degree has disappeared, as the younger generations become more cosmopolitan. And what a delight it was! The food vendors, the shouted conversations, and gesticulating hands. The mammas stuffing food into chubby mouths, in between cuffs on the ear for poor behavior.

And all against the beauty of the marvelous scenery, rolling past the windows.

It was then that Italy became engraved on my heart. And it’s a love that has never dimmed.

“Ah, you’re going to Italy’s deep south!” a fellow passenger from a neighboring town informed us. And before day’s end, we learned what a long way down the boot it was!

Hubby’s birth area, il Cilento, was (and still is) like another world! And in shock, like Carlo Levi of the film Christ Stopped at Eboli, I wondered if we’d landed in some 3rd world nation instead of 20th century Europe!

But I fell in love with the rural mountain villages of Italy’s deep south that day.

And their unfathomable fascination continues to pull at my heart. An indescribable something in the culture and beautiful, simple people. Something far beyond the beauty of the landscape. Something intangible that tugs at my heart and soul.

When first watching “Christ Stopped at Eboli,” it seemed we’d traveled back in time and place. To that first visit in my husband’s hometown which so gripped our hearts and minds. It’s a film worth finding and watching, because it illustrates the world of the southern Italian mountain villages far better than I ever could. Check it out at IMDb.

But beware! You might fall in love with Italy’s villages too!

[Images ©SheilaScorziello.com]

Posted by Sheila Scorziello

American born, Italian at heart. Happily married over 40 years, living in Italy almost 30. Mom of two and nonna to 9 grandkids. Missionary with a passion for showing God's love in practical ways, honoring God by caring for his creation, and helping others taste and see that the Lord is good!

12 Comments

  1. For some reason I haven’t received your posts via email in a long time. That’s sad because I know I’m still “following” according to WordPress. My gosh this area is so beautiful! I do pray it works out that I could travel to southern Italy next Fall on a mission trip. It would be a dream to meet you, ❤

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    1. Perhaps you should check your settings in the reader Ellie. Where Sheila Scorziello is listed as a blog you follow, click on settings. Perhaps the “Email me new posts” button got turned off somehow. Otherwise you could try resigning up through my “Follow blog via email” widget. Anyway, if you do make it over – let me know. Perhaps we could meet up somewhere. That would be like a dream come true!! And yes, it is a beautiful area!!

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      1. Thanks Sheila, I’ll try that. (I’ve noticed WordPress seems to change the “goal posts” from time to time.) If I remember right, the trip is to Paglia and it looked gorgeous!

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      2. I’ll look that up, and will be praying for the Lord to open the right doors!!

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  2. Through your pictures and descriptions it would be easy to fall in love with such a place.

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    1. Well, we sure think so. But we have known others who ran away. Such quaintness and isolation was too much for them. I believe that’s because God prepares our hearts ahead of time for the place he wants us to serve in. But I’m glad you seem to be falling in love with it too!!

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  3. I also love reading your posts about Italy and looking at the beautiful photos.

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    1. Oh good! I’m SO glad Shari. These are some of the easiest posts for me to write because I love this place so much. And want everyone to fall in love with it – and pray for it!!

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  4. Italy sounds so beautiful. 🙂 I absolutely love reading your blog because it’s so easy to visualize and be a part of what you’re describing! Thank you for continuing to share your experiences. 🙂 xo

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    1. Awe thanks. Those are such generous and encouraging words! I imagine it’s because I truly have a great love for this place and its people. This really is the land of my heart (after heaven) and I love sharing about it!

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      1. Of course. 🙂 And yes, I am sure you do, it certainly comes across. 🙂 I love reading it, thank you for writing! 💖

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      2. Thank you! What an encouragement!!!

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